thrusting my hand from the dirt like an undead

Er… [taps microphone] Is this thing on? Testing. Compiling. I don’t remember how I made any of this. How does Hugo work again? Hello?

It’s been a while. I’ve been busy being half-dead. To put it simply, my brain melted in the summer heat and I was absolutely out of it for about 8 months. Although I went to work and traveled and did stuff like normal, I can tell you coming out the other side that a good chunk of my grey matter was completely checked out. Maybe you could say I was just living day-to-day without much sense of the bigger picture, without asking who/where/how do I want to be X weeks or months from now? The unexamined life, as it turns out, is a life that lives you more than you live it.

Well, my friends, I went to my relatives’ place for New Year’s again and call me cliche, but I resolved to live this year, transitive verb. Something about poking my newborn niece’s comically round cheeks made me think about the value of time, sand in the hourglass, all that profound stuff. I pulled æœ«ć‰ (little luck) for my fortune slip and while explaining to my cousin the English phrase “make your own luck,” my brain plugged itself back in. I woke up.

And now I am awake! Eyes open! Eyes wide open, sclera visible in a bit of a panic because oh dear, I need to decide What To Do Next! Yes, my current job as an English teacher will not be passing GO after July. A lot of factors went into my decision, some of which I’ve addressed before. In addition, I’ve come to realize that I need a lot more training/experience to navigate being an educator in underserved communities. There are boundaries you must set and boundaries that are set for you; especially for a Helper like me, accepting that there are insurmountable professional and cultural boundaries is hard! I want to help but I am not a social worker, and there’s only so much I can do as an outsider. So I think I’d rather be in a less emotionally taxing position, and one where I am able to put more of my skills to use.

So that leads us to… where? Well, third of all, a career fair next weekend. Business cards and Japanese resumes, oh my. Like the clown I am, I will don my special suit and paint my face for the people. I’ve never been to one of these before — I’ve always bristled at the idea of playing the corporate game or whatever Holden Caulfield calls it. But also, I’d like to stay in Japan if I can (properly priced healthcare is very nice!). So I must do what that demands of me.

Second and first of all, and much more excitingly, two conversations this week with folks at a design agency here in Japan that’s hiring.1 Not officially recruitment/hiring talks, but you know how these things go (the writer says, not knowing how these things go). Despite the varied faces of this website and even my forays into paid web design/development, I’ve never reeeally considered myself a “design guy.” Just someone who designs sometimes, middlingly. Not in a self-deprecating way, you understand, but acknowledging that I have a lot to learn regarding design that, well, I haven’t taken the time to read/listen to.

But have you heard that apocryphal story about Johnny Cash, where he went to voice lessons and the teacher refused to take him on? His voice, the teacher allegedly said, was already absolutely singular and should not be changed. I don’t dare to compare myself to Johnny Cash, but you know, maybe there’s something rattling around in my head that those folks will like. In any case, they claim they’re okay with people with no formal design experience, so maybe I can get by on the feverish hours of research I’ve done on their company and my budding portfolio.

That’s all bearing down on me this week, a very slow train in the distance. All good things, but much preparation to be done nonetheless. Remember how I said I’m a clown? I told one of those design people that I’ll put in an application before our talk. An application that requires a 600-character essay in Japanese about the biggest decision of my life. Great. So I’m paging through some of my books and blog posts I read for practice, seeking turns of phrase like I’m combing a flower field for the best blooms to press.

In the wider scope (we are thinking forward this year!), I’m experiencing a minor creative renaissance. Despite some anxious spirals I’m making more and opening up in ways I haven’t for quite a while, which is very nice. I’m hoping to return to some sketches I was making for new pages on this site, if I can find the flash drive I put them on. Feeling a little on edge about all the stuff coming up this week, but I’m making lists on lists to keep my priorities straight. The real challenge is actually doing the things I write down.

  1. Every time I open my mouth to talk about this company, the words spill out and fill up the room and start choking me and my conversation partner. It’s embarrassing. All I’ll say here is it’s my corporatesona. Somebody mapped my brain and connected the dots of all my interests and made a company. It’s freaky. ↩︎

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